WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar has spent more time in the Octagon than the squared circle recently after he showed up at UFC 226 to challenge new UFC heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier to a fight in the future.
That bout can’t take place until January at the earliest because Lesnar just re-entered into the USADA drug testing pool, but his return to UFC is already having a ripple effect in WWE. The Monday after Lesnar’s UFC run-in, he was nowhere to be found on Monday Night Raw, and not only was he not on the bill but his name wasn’t even mentioned.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, that was a purposeful omission that came from the mind of Vince McMahon. Per the Observer, McMahon told everyone backstage Lesnar’s name wasn’t to be mentioned to keep focus on the build to Extreme Rules and they won’t mention his name until it’s deemed to be beneficial to them. The thought, apparently, is to turn fans against Lesnar, again, by insinuating he’s turning their back on him in hopes that they can finally get people to side with Roman Reigns in their SummerSlam matchup.
This is basically a redux of their program ahead of WrestleMania, where Reigns constantly harped on Lesnar’s absentee status as a champion, but that didn’t work as hoped and ultimately Lesnar retained in brutal, bloody fashion. It’s clear there wasn’t a lesson learned from that by WWE and they’ll continue trying to go to the “loyalty” card to get fans on Roman’s side, which seems like a futile effort at this point.
As for Lesnar’s return to the Octagon, not everyone in UFC is expecting his return to go particularly well. According to Mandatory.com, former UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz told “The Scott & BR Show” in San Diego that he’ll be stunned if Lesnar makes it to a fight night without getting popped for doping by USADA.
“If he makes it to the fight I’d be shocked. And I just mean that because USADA is the toughest anti-doping system there is on planet Earth, and that guy is absolutely doping. Period. No ifs, ands or buts about it. And he’s not been in mixed martial arts, so of course he’s been doing that stuff. How they’re going to get him to be clean on fight night is beyond me.”
It’s a very distinct possibility this happens, considering Lesnar was able to fight in his last UFC return at UFC 200, but shortly after his win over Mark Hunt he got flagged for a failed drug test and returned to WWE.